Microsoft, Nokia, RIM and other carriers and smartphone manufacturers are either denying or minimizing connections to Carrier IQ and its monitoring software.
Microsoft, Nokia, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Research In
Motion are just a few of the companies denying their smartphones and services
are loaded with Carrier IQ, the company whose smartphone diagnostics software
is accused of monitoring users' activity without their explicit consent.
IT pro Trevor Eckhart conducted a very public test, with
, demonstrating what he claimed was Carrier IQ software recording voluminous
amounts of user data. For its part, Carrier IQ claimed its software is
"embedded by device manufacturers along with other diagnostic tools and
software prior to shipment," according to a company press
Nov. 16, and that "we are counting and summarizing performance, not
recording keystrokes or providing tracking tools."
Nonetheless, Eckhart's original report was enough to send
pundits and smartphone users into a frenzy, claiming that Carrier IQ's products
constitute a massive privacy breach. In the wake of that, various carriers and
smartphone manufacturers are scrambling to either distance themselves entirely
from Carrier IQ, or else explain their interactions with the company as
"RIM does not pre-install the Carrier IQ app on BlackBerry
smartphones or authorize its carrier partners to install the Carrier IQ app
before sales or distribution," RIM wrote in a statement circulated on Reuters
and other news Websites Dec. 1. "RIM also did not develop or commission the
development or the Carrier IQ application, and has no involvement in the
testing, promotion, or distribution of the app."
A Nokia spokesperson also told Reuters: "CarrierIQ does not
ship products for any Nokia devices."
Microsoft also chimed in, via its own channels. "Since
people are asking-Windows Phones don't have CarrierIQ on them either," Joe Belfiore,
corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows Phone program, tweeted
Verizon Wireless spokesperson denied any connection with Carrier IQ: "Any
report that Verizon Wireless uses Carrier IQ is patently false."
, HTC shot down any possible relationship to the beleaguered software
company, suggesting that "Carrier IQ is required on devices by a number of U.S.
carriers," while Apple claimed that any Carrier IQ software will be removed
"completely" in a "future software update." Of the carriers, Sprint confirmed
it uses Carrier IQ but only to "analyze our network performance."
The federal government also seems ready to get involved,
(D-Minn.) issuing a press release calling on Carrier IQ "to
explain exactly what the software records, whether it is transmitted to Carrier
IQ or any third party, and whether the data is protected against security
threats that could risk the safety and privacy of American consumers."
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter